What are the most pressing environmental health issues from global climate change?

Global Climate Change is gaining the world’s attention every day. Its effects are becoming more evident to be a global threat on the world security, food security, human health, geographical landscape and water resources. Air pollution seems to be the greatest threat man must fight against.

Man’s behavior and industrial activities continues to put a lot of air toxicants like sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, many other respirable toxicants and ozone to cope with. The need for energy sufficiency has now left global lawmakers in unending debates for solutions of solving the menace disaster of the 21st century. The most pressing health issues on the environmental ecosystem would be respiratory diseases, cardiovascular diseases, immunodeficiency diseases, central nervous system diseases, and heat diseases.

Changes in temperature created by air pollution would impact the oceans and subsequent sea rise due to melting of glaciers and icebergs. A rise in temperature would increase air temperature and water vaporization which has an influence in rainfalls that increases flooding. The impacts of flooding have frequently seen on low coastal countries, like Bangladesh, in recent years Sierra Leone “Ma Baylay” wharfs of Freetown displacing their inhabitants, at the same time causing waterborne diseases like cholera, typhoid, weils disease, hepatitis dysentery and many more gastrointestinal problems.

It would also enhance more breeding ground for mosquitoes due to stagnation of water eventually leading to an increase on the existing malarial disease which is rife in Sierra Leone the possibility of Zika virus infection must not be ruled out. There is a high-risk factor of introduction of the West Nile fever that is also caused by the Aedes agypti mosquito during torrential rains. We are almost doomed by the recent Ebola Virus Disease and still grappling with its syndrome and sequalae, with the poor health institutions and infrastructure the world must rush and help Sierra Leone immediately.

The mistakes of the Ebola by which the World Health Organization (WHO) snail paced intervention must not be allowed to occur this time. This is not only a national issue but a global issue. Temperature changes can cause serious impacts on skin diseases such as cancers of the skin, and heat disease of heat exhaustion, and heat stroke. Heat waves would exacerbate respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. Exacerbation of Bronchial Asthma, central nervous system depression, stroke, and many deaths in the next decade should be expected. There will be drought and another problem to contend with would be fire eruptions pillaging of our beautiful forests by wicked deforestation that has largely contributed to the present calamity. It is indeed shameful that Mount Aureole the beautiful Lion mountain has lost her glory.

The impunity and hindrance logging of our forests throughout Sierra Leone destroying her beautiful fauna, and endangering her species to extinction has just started to show in this flooding. Displacement will continue unless acute astute measures are taken we are becoming masters of our fate. The uncouth behavior practiced by homeless squatters putting haphazard shags around the hills of mountain-cut and the vicinities of Fourah Bay College in Mount Aureole, also the greed and selfishness of the rich that must build houses on the hills of Mount Aureole without proper planning did aggravate the present calamity of mudslides that has cost the lives of many innocent souls.

There is no doubt that many health issues that would necessitate our citizenry’s concern due to global climate change largely contributed by man has been highlighted. The adult lifespan would be decreased especially that of smokers would be shorten by 10 years in the coming decade. In addition to the existing human health impacts, many congenital anomalies have been implicated such as neonatal deaths, small for dates, stunted growth has been attributed to global warming through air pollution.

Now let us examine some of the environmental impacts of global warming. The geographical landscape changes such as deforestation, flooding, tsunami, decrease agricultural activities resulting in unintended migration.  Intense political and diplomatic activities for global peace are frequent to enhance agriculture worldwide for the growing world population food security. Policies gearing towards solutions in the prevention of environmental safety against pollution.

One existing policy that ensures that our environment is protected is the environmental protective agency (EPA) which addresses emergencies of both man made or natural disasters. This requires also participatory efforts of sensitization of the public or community initiated and implemented by government agencies or other non-governmental agencies. This involves preparedness awareness training of the communities. This awareness preparedness was absent when the Ebola stroke and the country paid a heavy price of human lives. There must be continuous training and retraining of the members of the community so that unprecedented emergencies could be handled and coordinated before a global intervention arrives. Unnecessary blames on witchcraft because of our failures in doing the needful for the country does not auger well. Prayers do help but god help those who help themselves. Sierra Leone must put things in real perspective.

Some valuable suggestions on how to improve the policy of EPA or new policies are but not limited to a change in attitude or behavior of man to our environment. Man’s lifestyle that tends to rely more on modern technologies creates a demand on industrialization of polluted energy dependence. Technology therefore must use alternative sources of clean energy whose ingredients of hydroelectric, sunlight solar, and wind of less pollutants are abundant in Sierra Leone. Minimalizing shifting cultivation and burning of woods and charcoal for energy, decreases air pollutants of sulfur dioxide and ozone depletion. Control of motor vehicle emission to standard levels.

Recycling of wastes and subsequent production of butane gas and fertilizers for household and agricultural consumption and farming could be an alternative to coal and firewood pollutants. The Greenhouse emissions must be abolished totally for natural agriculture. Pasteurization must be controlled limiting air pollution. Educating the present and future generations to cope with trends of development a priority of our nation to eradicate illiteracy. This youth education would allow our future generation to enter the pool of knowledge that would help to preserve and conserve recycling of energy needs judiciously.

Business Tycoons or investors must practice social justice by adhering to laws that protects the community’s health. Big corporates must obey laws and policies to meet their corporate social responsibilities. They must invest in land reclamations for suitable agriculture, help inhabitants of industrial cities to live meaningful healthy lives not exposed to toxic wastes that endangers their lives, more trees are planted than are fell for timber industry. It takes hundreds of years to produce thick forests like those that have been destroyed. Viable agricultural activities must be fast paced to meet growing demands of food security. Automobiles technology geared toward clean energy. Following and obeying evidence-based policies of EPA. The use of compact fluorescent lights will reduce pollution and conserve energy.

Regulation alone is not sufficient without modification of human behavior. Stakeholders must adhere to globalization policies of environmental climate change. Each one of us have a moral obligation in adopting responsible lifestyles and some of these require little effort but meaningful to our environmental protection. Little changes from within our household in energy consumption avoiding use of charcoal or firewood and avoiding or stopping bush fires. Stop using fossils for industrial energy will mitigate air pollution and reduce ongoing global warming. Enhancing planting of trees, and leaving the ecosystem intact with less or no interference that destroys the vegetation. Avoiding the use of gasoline generators reduces pollution, and noise that is stressful to humans.

Political overtures must be for the national interest and distribute resources equally in all regions of the country to improve infrastructure and institutions. Support youth education, and rehabilitation from incarcerations to useful citizens. Discourage thuggish behaviors by not sponsoring gangsters but education. Of course, godliness or being pious would guide our judgement fairly in deliberating our duties. What else do we need above this is patriotism the love of our country first otherwise Sierra Leone will continue to be in a cycle torment. God/Allah have mercy on our victims. AMEN.

Dr. Augustine Kamara.

Virginia USA. 8/16/17







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